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Why the 727 and 757 were nearly British.

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posted on May, 30 2007 @ 05:28 PM
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Having drawn you in with my cunning title, as its my ATS anniversary, I will indulge myself with a tale I have always found fascinating. It’s a tale of how the British aircraft industry, as on many similar occasions, has true greatness within its grasp, only for it to slip through its fingers like grains of sand. It is, I hope, an enlightening tale of what seems to be specialist subject of the UK aerospace industry, namely the ‘missed opportunity’.

Back in 1956 there was a fierce competition in the UK industry to produce a new medium/short haul jetliner for BEA. This was fierce because BEA’s Vickers Viscount had turned out to be the most successful British airliner EVER, and what we were looking at now was its replacement. The entire UK industry wanted to get its finger into this pie.

I won’t bore you with the specifics of the rival designs (as fascinating as I find them myself) but suffice to say that the winning contender was the De Havilland DH.121.

The DH 121 was a revolutionary new design and a clear step up from the Comet which had preceded it, the design was a 111 seat trijet featuring three of the new 11,000lb thrust Rolls Royce Medway engines, mounted in a group around the rear fuselage and a T-tail. So good was the DH121 that not only were BEA very keen, but Pan Am also requested a meeting with De Havilland “as soon as it is possible to do so”. Things were looking very rosy indeed and this baby was going to be a world beater.

Around this time Lord Douglas of Kirtleside made a visit to America where unrest over Pan Am’s enthusiasm for the DH 121 was growing. During this visit he was informed that Boeing were considering producing an aircraft in competition with the De Havilland design and so, for some insane reason which remains unexplained (and mention of things like ‘bribery’ and ‘corruption’ would be without any foundation in terms of supportive evidence) he suggested reciprocal visits between Seattle and Hatfield for ‘an exchange of ideas’.

The really remarkable thing was that instead of all the alarm bells ringing, the Hatfield team reacted with amazing enthusiasm to this suggestion and invited a top level team from Boeing to see everything they had on the DH 121 at Hatfield. Boeing were pretty gobsmacked at this, but naturally accepted with good grace and so it was that De Havilland freely handed over all its research to its closest rival while, at the same time, barring the British press from the factory for reasons of ‘security’. If you can figure that one out, let me know. ‘cos I can’t.

original Medway powered, 111 seat DH.121 as shown to Boeing




Immediately after this, in 1958, the UK then scored its second own goal. Having monitored the traffic levels of the previous three years, BEA got cold feet and thought the 121 was going to be too big. It was quickly scaled down to only 97 seats (as BEA’s word was the industry’s command in those days) and re-engined with the smaller R-R Spey, the emasculated version then appeared in 1962 as the Hawker Siddeley Trident 1, so close, but yet so far.

In 1959 Boeing gave the full go ahead to the 727, its spec matching that of the *original* DH 121 almost exactly. This might even be a coincidence, but even if it was, all that DH material exactly confirming their own findings must have helped enormously in the decision making process. When Boeing returned the favour, in 1960, they were very careful to make sure that the visiting De Havilland team, although well and courteously looked after, saw nothing of the 727 at all. The net result of all this was then when the world markets looked at the two aircraft the 727 was the clear winner every time and it ended up outselling the Trident by a factor of about 10 to 1, and deservedly so I might add.

Even *if* Boeing did pilfer the design concept, it was nobody’s fault but our own that we had the perfect rival, but bottled it.

You might think this would be the end of the coincidences regarding the trident and the 727, but no. In 1965 BEA issued a requirement to the UK industry for an ‘Airbus’.

Yes, that was what it was called and yes, it was the same requirement that eventually led to the A300 and Airbus Industrie, how that became mainly French is another tale similar to the one just recounted, but maybe another time.

By this time De Havilland had been absorbed fully into Hawker Siddeley, but it was still the same design team, still based at Hatfield and they still used the DH number sequence (the BAe 146 was the last aircraft produced in the sequence that began with the DH.1 in 1911, had the changes never been made it would have been the DH.146).

For their solution to the Airbus the Hatfield team dusted down the Trident and updated it. In order to do this they chose to extend the fuselage rearwards to give a total capacity of 200 passengers in a single aisle layout, they switched from three tail mounted turbojets to two underwing high bypass turbofans but they retained the original Trident nose and tail, later in the design process they switched to a low mounted tail at the behest of BEA who were quite interested in this project, however this aircraft, known as the HS.134, was shelved when in July 1967 a tripartite agreement was signed between the UK, France and Germany to jointly develop the widebody Hawker Siddeley HBN.100 instead under the designation ‘A.300.

Now if the design process of the HS.134 in 1965-66 sounds familiar, then it should. It is the exact same process that Boeing followed when it evolved the 727 into the 757 15 years later!

Ironically, it was even BEA’s successor, British Airways that persuaded Boeing to ditch the 727-style T-tail for a low tail, just as they had with Hawker Siddeley all those years beforehand. The 757 later got its own new nose based on the 767’s, bu7t at the time when BA signed it still had the 727 nose and so its evolution was absolutely identical to the HS.134, this is a coincidence I have always found remarkable. Below is a general arrangement of the HS.134 dated January 1967, a time when ‘Airbus’ was a BEA classification, not a European manufacturer. At this point the design is at the same stage as the 757 was in 1981.



Now the early, clearly 727-based Boeing model of the 757;



And history repeats itself note the 727 nose, like the Trident nose on the British project








[edit on 30-5-2007 by waynos]



posted on May, 30 2007 @ 05:45 PM
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...scuse me whilst I go away and cry.

I love the 727 and the 757. I have even heard this story before, but it is always disturbing to hear it. Proves that the British upper classes are inbred fools.



posted on May, 30 2007 @ 06:19 PM
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its not just our upperclasses that are imbred.



posted on May, 31 2007 @ 07:42 AM
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I'm not going to get involved in a class war but what amazes me is how we never learn. The story of the reciprocal visits, which proved to be nothing of the sort, is a direct repeat of what happened with the Miles M.52 and Bell X-1 in 1944, you would think *somebody* would have remembered the way we were stiffed over that one, but no, we did it again.

Separately however, I do wonder how the very 757-like HS.134 would have fared had it flown in 1969 and entered service in, say, 1972 - a full decade ahead of the Boeing. This would, at the same time, have ensured a full go ahead for the BAC Three Eleven (on which manufacture did actually begin) which would mean, Boeing fans, no Airbus at all, how cool do you find that notion?




[edit on 31-5-2007 by waynos]



posted on May, 31 2007 @ 08:08 AM
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Originally posted by waynos
what amazes me is how we never learn. The story of the reciprocal visits, which proved to be nothing of the sort, is a direct repeat of what happened with the Miles M.52 and Bell X-1 in 1944, you would think *somebody* would have remembered the way we were stiffed over that one, but no, we did it again.




[rant]

Your so right - when the stupid-as-* * politicans get involved, all common sense goes to * *


Depressing isn't it. Yet we expect these morons to run the country - I'd do a better job in my sleep ffs



The policy (it must be, mustn't it - surely they aren't that incompetent) of destroying the indigenous aerospace industry has continued to this day, look at the state of BAe, they are now committing all to the American market (which of course means they'll have to move nearly all the jobs to the US). Airbus, well, look at the doubt that was surrounding the filton plant a while back.

The EF Typhoon? Considering the money & time spent on it - a pile of * *. Why? 'Cos politicans got involved.

The French went alone, and produced pretty much an identical machine on less than half the money... hmmm, I wonder why.


[/rant]

[edit on 31/5/07 by kilcoo316]

Mod Edit: Please do not bypass the censors

[edit on 6/1/07 by FredT]



posted on May, 31 2007 @ 08:59 AM
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Great thread waynos
.

We need more original thread ideas like this, it helps keep things interesting.

I have to say the similarities between the DH121/727 and HS134/757 are just to striking to be coincidental. I realise like most that a couple of engineer's thinking about the same problem in the same way will invariably arrive at similar solutions, but they are near identical.

Now say after me in your best Shirley Bassey singing voice, "a little bit of history repeating itself"......


The policy (it must be, mustn't it - surely they aren't that incompetent) of destroying the indigenous aerospace industry has continued to this day, look at the state of BAe, they are now committing all to the American market (which of course means they'll have to move nearly all the jobs to the US). Airbus, well, look at the doubt that was surrounding the filton plant a while back.

The EF Typhoon? Considering the money & time spent on it - a pile of sh_t. Why? 'Cos politicans got involved.

The French went alone, and produced pretty much an identical machine on less than half the money... hmmm, I wonder why

Yep, that about sums it up kilcoo. Wasn't there a government report on defence research & production capabillity needs a year or so back, that concluded after Hawk and Typhoon there would be little need for the UK to remain a stand alone designer and manufacturer of combat aircraft? Which means that you become reliant on the usual European bureaurcratic squabbling match for your needs. Meanwhile the only other viable alternative is to look across the Atlantic, smile and take it in the rear like a good chap. Britain looses a little more of an industry it helped pioneer and shape, and the rest of the world looses another viable alternative for the research, design and construction of civilian and millitary aircraft. At which point an already seriously duopolised industry settles into complacency and offers even less competion and innovation.

"Everyone please give a big hand for slick salesman from Seattle. And their thick headed British civil service side kicks, who just nicked out the back to find a big bucket of sand to stick their collective heads into!"(Applause).

Think I better go and make a cup of tea and have a good lay down.

LEE.



posted on May, 31 2007 @ 01:01 PM
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Thanks Lee, if you're interested in this subject you might like to see how we also ducked out of competing with the 707 a few years earlier?

I covered that subject in this thread some time ago which you may have missed.



posted on May, 31 2007 @ 01:39 PM
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If im not mistaken didnt we do the same thing with the jet engine ie invite the yanks to take a look at our new toy then our own politicians stopped us from going further with it so the yanks went ahead and built a aircraft round it and hey presto!!!!!

I read somewhere that because it was a need for war at the time we also had to assist the yanks in completing our ideas with the jet plane



posted on May, 31 2007 @ 01:52 PM
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There's a story (no idea how true it is) that the UK sent Russia several jet engines after losing a bet. However, the UK did build jet fighters in WWII. The De Havilland Vampire first flew in 1943, but didn't see service until 1946.

The Gloster E28/39 first flew in 1941. Germany flew the first jet in 1939, and this was the first British jet.


The weather on the day of the first scheduled flight, 15 May, 1941, was unsuitable, but finally, at about 7pm, it broke sufficiently to allow the engineers and pilot, PEG 'Gerry' Sayer, to make the first flight. Some 45 minutes later, Sayer taxied to the runway and opened the throttle. It was a very anxious moment for Frank Whittle and the small team who had gathered to witness this historic moment. Many pessimists had been making gloomy predictions saying that the aircraft would behave like a firework rocket without a stick, For Carter too, the occasion was far more momentous than the first flight of a normal prototype aircraft, but his calm temperament hid any anxieties he had about the aircraft's maiden flight.

Sayer ran up the engine to 16,500 rpm, the maximum revolutions, while holding the brakes, then released them and the aircraft moved forward, slowly gathering speed. After a run of about 600 yards, Sayer eased the control stick back and took to the air, surprised at the ease with which the E28 handled. One thing that was very noticeable however, was the lack of a propeller and its associated vibrations. Being used to the roaring of exhausts of engines of hundreds of horsepower, Sayer found the aircraft was incredibly quiet, almost glider-like, a high-pitched whine being the only clue to the new engine's power.

One of two officers watching the E.28 take off was heard to ask "How the hell does that thing work?" His companion replied. "Oh, it's easy, old boy, it just sucks itself along like a Hoover!" Another was sitting in the Officer's Mess with a puzzled frown. When asked what was troubling him, he replied that he had seen a strange aeroplane "going like a bat out of hell" and that there was something odd about it, but he could not think what it was. After a pause, he said, "My God! chaps, I must be going round the bend - it hadn't got a propeller!" Another member of the official group of onlookers gave Whittle a slap on the back exclaiming, "Frank, it flies!" To which, in the stress of the moment, he replied curtly, "That was what it was bloody-well designed to do, wasn't it?"

Then the E28 was lost to view in the clouds, though the watchers could tell that all was well with the flight by the steadiness of the engine note. Sayer, making notes on his kneepad, continued the flight until seventeen minutes was up. This time limit had been imposed as only 50 gallons of fuel had been put in the fuel tanks to give the aircraft the best possible chance of getting airborne. Then after a couple of gentle turns, Sayer made a perfect landing and, grinning exuberantly, taxied up to the group on the runway. Whittle and Carter dashed to congratulate him, the joyous moment being caught on camera. In true British style, a rather understated notice in Gloster's design offices said, 'Last night a short flight was successfully completed.'

Fifteen flights accumulating 10 hours of flying followed in the next 13 days without a need to remove the engine cover. The aircraft reached an altitude of 25,000 feet, and with a full fuel load of 81 gallons, almost an hour's flight could be achieved.

www.raf.mod.uk...



posted on May, 31 2007 @ 03:18 PM
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Originally posted by thesaint
If im not mistaken didnt we do the same thing with the jet engine ie invite the yanks to take a look at our new toy then our own politicians stopped us from going further with it so the yanks went ahead and built a aircraft round it and hey presto!!!!!

I read somewhere that because it was a need for war at the time we also had to assist the yanks in completing our ideas with the jet plane


Frank Whittle joined GE in the US in 1942 to further develop the jet engine, resulting in the centrifugal flow engines that were fitted to the Meteor, and then he helped build the L.R.1 axial flow.

In 1946 the British government signed a license agreement with the USSR to allow production of the Rolls-Royce Nene centrifugal-flow engine, which was adapted to become the Klimov RD-45 jet engine.

The Korean war saw the Rolls Royce Nene powered MiG-15 pitted against the GE powered F-80s (Allison J33 centrifugal engine) and the GE powered F-86 (J47 axial flow engine) - all three designs coming from Whittle.



posted on Jun, 1 2007 @ 04:58 PM
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There's a story (no idea how true it is) that the UK sent Russia several jet engines after losing a bet.


Thats just a myth I'm afraid Zap, though you wouldn't be surprised if it were true after reading some of the things we did do


In actual fact the Russians had been developing their own jets since 1942 but at the end of the war they recognized they were lagging well behind the west. They thus determined to obtain the very best jet engines and aircraft in the world to learn from and, in 1945, this meant British.

A request was put in for an export licence for the R-R Nene, which was more powerful, more reliable and had a longer life than the Jumo axial engines they had pilfered from Germany, and for the DH Vampire and the Gloster Meteor airframes which were also considered the best at that time. The export licences for the last two were however refused. The reason they got the Nenes was that at this time Britain and Russia were still allies, despite Chrchill's great desire to nuke them and anyway, he was voted out of office, so they got their engines.

This wasn't quite the massive leg-up to Russian jet technology that it is often portrayed as (though it was of huge benefit to the MiG 15) it simply meant that back engineering the Nene into the VK-1 (RD-45) bought the Russians time to develop a reliable engine of their own from the Jumo axial engines they had acquired from Germany, which had always been their main plan.



posted on Jun, 1 2007 @ 05:26 PM
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If im not mistaken didnt we do the same thing with the jet engine ie invite the yanks to take a look at our new toy then our own politicians stopped us from going further with it so the yanks went ahead and built a aircraft round it and hey presto!!!!!


No, not really. Britain pursued the jet engine quite vigorously, once we had finally awoken to the potential of what Whittle had been trying to give us for many years.

After the E28/39 specification (standing for Experimental project number 28 of 1939) was issued that resulted in Britains first jet aeroplane flying in May 1941, not many realise that the first specification for a jet fighter for RAF service, F9/40, was issued in May 1940, even before the fall of France. This resulted in the first operational allied jet fighter, the Gloster Meteor, and the only one to fire its guns in anger during WW2.

As well as the Meteor there was the DH Vampire (designed to E6/41, flown in 1943), the Supermarine E10/44 Jet Spiteful and the Hawker P1035 Jet Fury (adapted from F2/43 to which the original Fury was designed). The latter two were delayed by the overriding importance that Hawker and Supermarine kept churning out Spitfires and Tempests and so they ended up being produced for the Royal Navy as the Hawker Sea Hawk and Supermarine Attacker a few years after the war.

These projects are only the tip of an iceberg that included a 1,000mph interceptor powered by an afterburning Whittle engine called the Miles M.52.

So you see we did mange to develop the jet quite fully on our own, until the end of the war and the fact that we were flat broke from it.

When Whittle went to the USA he went as part of a Power Jets team to assist GE and this helped the USA put its first jet plane, the XP-59A into the air before the end of 1942 on the power of a pair of Whittle units they brought over with them which had been removed from a Meteor prototype in order to help speed America's progress in this area.

This meant that the Americans could gain flight data and experience from the XP-59A whilst simultaneously developing their own engine but without the pressure to get one airborne too quickly.

[edit on 1-6-2007 by waynos]



posted on Jun, 1 2007 @ 05:37 PM
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Originally posted by waynos



There's a story (no idea how true it is) that the UK sent Russia several jet engines after losing a bet.


Thats just a myth I'm afraid Zap, though you wouldn't be surprised if it were true after reading some of the things we did do



Yah, I had the feeling it wasn't true. Although I DID hear another story from the Soviets of a visit to an engine factory where they wore special rubber shoes to pick up metal fragments to analyze later.

Yah, you're also right that I wouldn't be surprised at all if you DID do that.
It seems like you guys were giving away everything but the kitchen sink.



posted on Jun, 1 2007 @ 05:59 PM
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And as for the TSR2 let's not even go there.

As the story was related by a KGB officer on a TV documentary a few years ago, they were sent a single engine as a gift at one point.

The same source said prior to this, with the Nene engine someone at the air Ministry argued that there was no harm selling the license to Russia as the Russians lacked the hi-tech allows needed to make it work with any reliability and that the real secret lay in the alloys...

so what did they do ?

The Air Ministry invited a Soviet trade delegation to inspect the factory where Nene engines were built. At least one member of the delegation was equipped with soft rubber souls. He walked over to a lathe and started conversation over a pile of metal tailings and ground them into the soul of his shoes. From this Russia determined the alloys to use in the Klimov copy.

I understand the Eurofighter has to fly with concrete ballast in place of cannon due to changes in specs ?

The Eurofighter strikes me as quite a reasonable aircraft in itself, but over priced at some US$40m+ per unit because of all the production offset deals which were essentially bribes to various customer governments.

One thing which bugs me about the Eurofighter Typhoon is the wings only have a 5,000 hour life which is the limiting factor of the airframe.



posted on Jun, 1 2007 @ 06:11 PM
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Not forgetting either that BAe shared the concept of Eurofighter with IAI to become the Lavi which became China's J-10. Nothing ever changes.




posted on Jun, 1 2007 @ 07:17 PM
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I understand the Eurofighter has to fly with concrete ballast in place of cannon due to changes in specs ?



I think you are confusing two different stories there; When the first Tornado ADV's were delivered to the RAF in 1987 the Foxhunter radar wasn't quite ready so concrete ballast was carried for flight trials until the radars could be fitted, this led to the nickname 'blue circle interceptor' after the name of a brand of concrete.

Secondly, during cost cutting measures in the UK it was decided that the RAF would do without the gun on its Typhoons. It was found however that the only suitable ballast was a gun shaped object and so the guns were left in, but they were not armed.

Since then however this policy has been reversed and fortunately, since the guns are already in place, its just a case of arming them before the first Typhoon's deploy overseas.




The Eurofighter strikes me as quite a reasonable aircraft in itself, but over priced at some US$40m+ per unit


The Typhoon is a fine aircraft, it is more expensive than you quoted but it is much cheaper than the only better option. The only trouble with the Typhoon is that it should have been in service in its current form years ago and the AESA equipped TVC upgrade that is now on the drawing boards should be flying by now.

The last thing you posted about the Lavi and J-10 is pure fiction however, where did you pick this up from? The only ones who assisted in the design of the Lavi were General Dynamics, hence its superficial similarity to the F-16. The picture you posted is a total fake, being no more than a retouch of the original you posted beside it and it doesn't even look like the J-10. It does however have the original air intake that BAe designed on the P.120 upon which the Typhoon is 90% based.

[edit on 1-6-2007 by waynos]



posted on Jun, 1 2007 @ 07:49 PM
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The photo is not a retouch. I know this for a fact because I obtained some photos of the J-10 and searched the web for similar photos of Eurofighter and I juxtaposed the most similar myself. There was no touch up. These are both genuine and you should get facts straight before you go accusing others.



posted on Jun, 1 2007 @ 08:12 PM
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Hey, SY, my facts are straight, it is definitely a retouch. I am not 'accusing' you of anything, I never said you faked it, only that it is one. I came across this fake several years ago and I even have it on my own computer as a curio.

You even have the original image right next to it!

explain, if they are two different pictures, why all the features are in exactly the same position?

compare the postions of the missiles, undercarriage doors and wheels relative to the airframe. They are *exactly* the same,

Look how the nosewheel lines up with the open wing slat, on both pictures, look how the exposed rear mounted AAM fin lines up against the nearby main wheel and how they both relate to the engine nozzles (two of them remember), this sort of alignment is not mere coincidence, its the same image.

this is without even pointing out that the J-10 does not have four semi recessed AAM's under its belly and only has one engine, not two. There is no possibility of a sniff of a doubt. The J-10 also has F-16 style ventral fins, where are they on your image? They are not there because its a Typhoon.

THIS is a J-10, two of them in fact, compare with the plane you have posted as a J-10





Here, just to help you out;



[edit on 1-6-2007 by waynos]



posted on Jun, 1 2007 @ 08:47 PM
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To further assist you look at this. The top one is a Typhoon, the bottom one a J-10. So what's in the middle?

edit to add, also look how the canards on the real J-10 are behind the intake, not ahead of it like on the Typhoon.



[edit on 1-6-2007 by waynos]



posted on Jun, 1 2007 @ 09:23 PM
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The picture which is being disputed at the moment has been discussed on ATS before, and at great length. This picture is a faked photograph. A fairly well-done fake, but nonetheless we can prove that it is most definitely a mash job. Key points are the canards, the fact that the fake J-10 has two engines while the real has only one, and the only significant structural difference in the two photos is that the fake J-10's nose is a tad enlarged. Nothing else is particularly different.



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